New-Dialect Formation in Canada

Evidence from the English modal auxiliaries

ORCID logoStefan Dollinger | University of British Columbia
ISBN 9789027231086 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027285232 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
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This book details the development of eleven modal auxiliaries in late 18th- and 19th-century Canadian English in a framework of new-dialect formation. The study assesses features of the modal auxiliaries, tracing influences to British and American input varieties, parallel developments, or Canadian innovations. The findings are based on the Corpus of Early Ontario English, pre-Confederation Section, the first electronic corpus of early Canadian English. The data, which are drawn from newspapers, diaries and letters, include original transcriptions from manuscript sources and texts from semi-literate writers. While the overall results are generally coherent with new-dialect formation theory, the Ontarian context suggests a number of adaptations to the current model. In addition to its general Late Modern English focus, New-Dialect Formation in Canada traces changes in epistemic modal functions up to the present day, offering answers to the loss of root uses in the central modals. By comparing Canadian with British and American data, important theoretical insights on the origins of the variety are gained. The study offers a sociohistorical perspective on a still understudied variety of North American English by combining language-internal features with settlement history in this first monograph-length, diachronic treatment of Canadian English in real time.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 97] 2008.  xxii, 355 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“[T]his book fills a conspicuous void in the field: namely a diachronic study of the formation of Canadian English [and] seems to settle the American English versus British English debate once and for all. The empirical analyses provide valuable additions to the study of modality in English as well as to the study of ongoing grammaticalization. [...] Overall, this book is a welcome and important contribution to Canadian English studies and, more broadly, to the study of dialect formation and dialect contact.”
“[...] a useful and important resource in the study of the history of CanE, Dollinger is to be commended for assembling the materials analyzed here. [...] Apart from extending the study of CanE into the past, he has moved the study of new-dialect formation out of the southern hemisphere and above and beyond phonology.”
“[...] Dollinger constructs a convincing and well-argued picture for the development of CanE that is sure to become a keystone in future research in the field. Though of direct relevance to those interested in corpus linguistics, new-dialect formation, and the English modal auxiliary complex, there is much material that will be of interest to a more general audience. This book certainly sets a benchmark for the type of rigorous scholarship that is called for in the search for “the actual complexities and subtleties of what really happens when speakers of different dialects come into contact with one another on a long-term basis in a new land" (Trudgill 2008: 280).”
“A ground-breaking study of the early history of Canadian English.”
“This is a book which establishes a bench-mark for the achievements of research in the field to date. It is an indispensable starting point for subsequent research, and will, I believe, come to be regarded as authoritative.”
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 april 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFK: Grammar, syntax

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007044469 | Marc record